As Pandemic Explodes, McConnell and Cornyn’s Push for Corporate Immunity Is an Attack on the American People

CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY, NOT IMMUNITY

Welcome to the latest edition of “Corporate Accountability, Not Immunity,” a daily tipsheet highlighting key news and important facts on why Congress should not give corporations legal immunity from coronavirus-related harms to workers, consumers, patients and the public. Also refer to our tipsheet on misleading claims from industry groups and conservative lawmakers. Please send tips, feedback and questions to David Rosen at drosen@citizen.org.

PANDEMIC RAGES ON AS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REMAINS AWOL: Federal leaders have abdicated responsibility for a national policy to combat the coronavirus, and states that failed to issue stay-at-home orders or reopened too quickly are now paying the price. The U.S. on Thursday reported a record 39,972 new coronavirus cases, more than two months after the previous record for new daily infections. Texas, Florida and California led with more than 5,000 new cases each. As more Americans die and the number of infections explodes, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) seems to think the most pressing issue is giving businesses immunity from liability from coronavirus-related claims if they endanger workers and customers. It’s an appalling attack on the American people.

HOUSTON HOSPITALS COULD BE OVERRUN WITHIN WEEKS: With cases surging in the Houston area, the city’s intensive care units (ICU) are now filled to 97% of capacity, Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Wednesday. COVID-19 patients account for more than one-quarter of all patients in intensive care in that city. Despite Houston’s large concentration of hospitals, the city could run out of ICU beds within two weeks, warned Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. What is U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) worrying about during this crisis? He’s focused on helping negligent businesses avoid accountability to injured people.

BUSINESSES AREN’T TAKING PRECAUTIONS BUT SEEKING IMMUNITY FROM THE CONSEQUENCES: Businesses are lobbying federal and state legislators to provide them immunity from liability for negligence that leads to coronavirus infections, claiming that they fear frivolous lawsuits and that they will observe health guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. At the same time, many businesses are not even requiring employees to wear masks. If businesses really fear a flood of suits by workers and customers, why aren’t they taking simple steps to reduce the possibility of harm?